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It may be hard to believe but there are so many more dance styles around the world than Gangnam Style. Why should you care? Because for thousands of years dance had an amazing power to gather people, whether the reasons were religious, cultural or simply to entertain (yep, dance existed before So You Think You Got To Dance With The Stars TV Shows). Dance binds people from around the world, because when we dance we all speak the same language – the hidden language of our souls. It’s like a therapy that heals us from within and more importantly dance is not about what you’ve got – it’s about what you make of what you’ve got. Sounds familiar? Isn’t that what you say? Adventure is what you make make it? I think dancers and travellers have so much more in common than meets the eye. I even think that they do what they do for the same exact reason. To feel free. So imagine combining these two passions together to dance when travelling the world. Don’t know how about you but I’m in. Some of you may say, yeah but I’m not a dancer. I’m telling you, you are. Everybody is a dancer. We all have a heartbeat. We all have the rhythm inside.

You might have already noticed that I’m a huge fan of local and non-mainstream. (Oh gosh, I just sounded like a Hipster queen. But what can I say, they Take The Road Less Traveled too ;) Ok, I would probably burn in Hell for lying that I wouldn’t love to go to Cuba and dance Salsa for the rest of my life :) but what I would really love to do is to travel far-flung regions of the world and get closer with the culture by dancing their dance styles.

I did some research, spent hours watching videos on youtube and here’s what caught my heart. I’ll share with you my MUST DANCE list :)

1. Hopak (Ukraine)


Although nowadays Hopak is danced both by men and women it was developed by men as a Kozak Social Dance after won battles in 16th century. I’m more than sure that if I haven’t told you that it had been developed by men you would find out anyway just by looking and the dance description.

“The dance was not tied down to specific rhythms, and the dancers could change tempo at any point. ”. Some of men might still dance by those rules these days (I’ve been to my cousin’s wedding last month, I know what I’m saying) ;)

The name Hopak simply means jump. And why this name actually? See it for yourselves.


2. Gumboot dance (South Africa)


 

No joke. This dance really exists. And the name is not a mistake, it’s performed by dancers wearing wellington boots. It may sound weird at first, but when you know the story you will find it more than amazing. The boots may be embellished with bells, so that they ring as the dancers stamp on the ground. This sound would be a code or a different calling to say something to another person a short distance away. It was basically used to communicate in the mines as there was strictly no talking, under the threat of punishment.

3. Forró (Brasil)


Why dance Samba in Brasil when you can dance Samba everywhere :) Plus Samba is usually danced solo (where is the fun part?) while Forró can only be danced in pair. It’s said that the further north you go in Brazil the closer people dance together when dancing forró. It is a much simpler dance form than Samba, and much easier to learn.

4. Irish Dance (Ireland)


This dance is definitely on the top of my list. Although I don’t think I will ever be able to move my feet so fast. I’m surprised there are people on this planet that can actually move their feet so fast. Irish dance is not just a performance but also a social dance and among this, my favourite – Irish céilí dances :) A céilí is a social gathering featuring Irish music and dance. When there is a large social gathering, there will often be a caller for the dance. A ceili caller is usually the teacher or most experienced dancer of the group and makes sure that everyone at a social dance can participate.

5. Bhangra (India)


Dancing around the world without visiting India? Unacceptable. You must go to the country where most of the movies are based on dancing and singing. Why Bhangra? because it was a celebration dance performed by farmers at the end of harvesting season. In the olden days, it was primarily performed to a live band, with live singing. The farmers would sing of their daily lives as farmers, and create dance moves to mimick certain farming tasks.

6. Harlem Shake (Harlem, New York)

This is my personal request to all those who cause millions views on those crazy Harlem Shake memes on Youtube. Please, go to New York, visit Harlem and check what the real Harlem Shake is and learn how to dance it.

The original Harlem Shake dance is based on an Ethiopian dance called Eskistan but is also said to come from ancient Egyptians because that’s what mummies used to do :) they.were all wrapped up, they couldn’t really move, all they could do was shake.

The list of dances around the world is like a never ending story. When you think you’ve seen them all someone comes up with another amazing move that changes everything again and rewrites history.

Yoko Ono said “I love to dance. I think it’s better to dance than to march through your life”. Well maybe it’s time to dance through your journey Travellers? :) )